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New mural graces Chinatown subway build

Stalled build’s barricades make great exhibition space

A mural image of dozens of bizarre cartoon characters above a construction barricade on Stockton Street, with cranes and machinery behind it. Courtesy SF Arts Commission

It’ll be years before the Central Subway brings trains and commuters into Chinatown, but in the meantime the ongoing dig and build is at least furnishing some prime exhibition space for a local artist.

The San Francisco Arts Commission announced today that muralist Jason Jägel’s new work titled Procession is on display right on the side of a subway construction barricade at Stockton and Washington, part of an ongoing drive at “beautifying the building site” while the long project plays out.

And Procession is indeed just that: A long and snaking march of oddball cartoon figures, including a rainbow-striped dragon, a marching head, and a rather well-dressed dog riding on the back of an uncharacteristically cooperative cat.

Closer observation and a bit of thinking reveals that each of these sketchbook subjects is partaking in some mode of transit. “I wanted to depict a suggestive panoply of city-dwellers that are playful, approachable, ambiguous and perhaps just a little bit weird,” Jägel said in the Arts Commission statement.

Born in 1971 and originally from Boston, Jägel is a Stanford grad who often makes use of the sketchbook doodle style on display at the subway site, although his portfolio also reveals a fondness for human-like figures abstracted in the inverse direction and shaded back into surreal silhouettes.

Procession will display at Washington and Stockton for a year, although with construction delays mounting up and trains not set to run until 2021 there might be an opportunity for it stick around.